The URL for this webpage is http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/statistics.html

# STATISTICS

**Male versus
Female: who is more likely to perpetrate child abuse**

(When doing the math, adjust the figures as your actual study shows
them.)
Do
you believe that women are "more likely" than men to abuse children?
That's incorrect. According to the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse
and Neglect there are more incidents of abuse of children (including both
physical abuse and neglect) perpetrated by women than by men. But that
does not tell you the "likelihood" that you are looking for,
which is the percent of women caregivers who commit child abuse versus
the percent of men caregivers who commit child abuse. **More women than
men care for children, and more children are cared for by women than are
cared for by men.** So if the "statistic" you are looking for
is not raw numbers of incidents (which merely would be the "likelihood"
that any given incident of abuse has been perpetrated by a man or a woman),
and if you came to this page because **what you really want to know is
whether women or men are more likely to be dangerous when they are caring
for children**, whether it is women or men who are "more likely"
to abuse children, then you need to do some math. The raw numbers of incidents
by themselves don't tell you this. So let's do the math:

Assume that at any
given time, 90% of all children who are in the care of one caregiver are
in the actual (not "constructive") physical care of a woman (parent,
grandparent, teacher, babysitter, day care provider, nurse, etc.), and
that 10% are in the care of a man. (This is a conservative estimate.)

Assume
that when a couple together are caring for children (e.g. married parents,
grandparents, or a parent and stepparent), if the man perpetrates abuse
it's extremely unlikely that the woman also will not be charged with either
accomplice physical abuse or failure to protect (neglect), so these statistics
are a "wash" and we are not considering them. (In reality, it's
next to never that men are charged for abuse perpetrated by a woman when
there is a couple caring for a child, Rusty Yates case in point, but this
anomaly favors men and artificially increases the relative portion of total
abuse reported as being perpetrated by women, so we will err in that direction.
We also are ignoring "gang" abuse and other kinds of individual
incidents of reported abuse involving two or more non-coupled adults against
children, which are, at any rate, relatively rare.)

Note that each counted
incident of reported abuse is per occurrence per child, and not per perpetrator.
(So that, e.g. one woman caring for 4 kids who didn't send them to school
or didn't take them to the dentist when she should have in the opinion
of some DCF worker is responsible for four reported counts of neglect-type
abuse "perpetrated by a woman," whereas one man's rape of one
child would be one count of abuse in the reported statistics.)

Assume that per caregiver,
when they do care for children, women on average care for 2 children while
men care for 1 child. (Women are much more likely than men are to care
for groups of children rather than one child, and even when men do care
for more than one child at a time, women are much more likely to care for
large groups, both in a parental capacity in families in which there are
more children as well as third party caregiving.)

Assume that for every
80 women who routinely directly care for children alone and spend significant
time with them, there are 20 men who directly care for children alone and
spend significant time with them. Thus, in the population of all persons
who routinely care for children *on their own*, of every 100 persons,
80 are women and 20 are men, or put another way, there are 4 women caregivers
for each 1 man caregiver. (Do not confuse this statistical base with the
90% children figure, above, which reflects individual women caring for
more than one child at a time. If you are surprised at this 80-20 figure,
and assumed it should be closer to 50-50, thinking of "parents,"
remember that children in the active care of a couple together are being
statistically eliminated as a wash -- a simplification that in these calculations
will err in favor of men -- and also don't forget the vast numbers of unwed
and divorced mothers who care for children without male assistance, the
stepmothers who care for children while fathers are away or at work, and
the sex of third party caregivers.)

Assume (without regard
to kind of abuse, and without correcting for qualitative differences by
removing or differentiating add-on and minor neglect charges from affirmative
acts of physical abuse), that counting reported incidents of abuse shows
that 70% of all incidents of abuse were committed by women and 30% were
committed by men. (This is grossly skewed to err in favor of men, see below.)

Set up a ratio to
compare men- versus women-perpetrated abuse. Thus:

Based on the foregoing,
women abusers occur at a comparative rate of **70/80** in the population
where the numerator is percent of incidents of abuse, and the denominator
is total woman population caring for children; and men abusers occur at
a comparative rate of **30/20** in the population where the numerator
is percent of incidents of abuse, and the denominator is total man population
caring for children, or, in order to more easily compare this ratio with
the woman abuser ratio, making the denominators equal, **120/80**.

The total abuse would
be 120 + 70, or 190. Therefore, in any given population of child caregivers,
adjusted to reflect greater likelihood of women being the caregiver, men
represent **120/190** of total incidents of abuse perpetrated and women
represent **70/190** of that total. The comparative likelihood that
a man is the abuser then is represented as** .63**, and that a woman
is the abuser as **.36**.

In other words, using
these conservative figures, and without yet correcting for the fact that
for each woman caregiver there are more children and without recognizing
different kinds of abuse, in the population of all caregivers, men are
nearly *twice as likely to abuse children as are women.*

Now adjust for actual
numbers of perpetrators.

The incidents of
abuse in women's 70/80 above ratio actually represent only 35 individual
women caregivers (because each woman is caring for an average 2 children.)
The incidents of abuse in men's 30/20 ratio above represent 30 man caregivers
(because, above, they have an average of 1 child to care for compared with
2 children cared for by a women.) Because we are looking to compare perpetrator
information gleaned from statistics using incident reports for each child,
a different statistical population base, we need to adjust for this.

Based on the foregoing,
then, individual women perpetrators actually will be represented by a ratio
of **35/80** and men perpetrators will occur with a comparable frequency
of **30/20**, or, adjusting the denominators so that we can better compare
the ratios for women and men, we have a ratio of **120/80** for men
compared with **35/80** for women. Individual men then represent **120/155**
of total individual abusers, and women are **35/155** of total individual
abusers.

Thus, the adjusted
likelihood that a man is an abuser is **.77**, and that a woman is an
abuser is **.23**. In other words, the "twice as likely" calculation
was premature; individual men caregivers are* 2.34 times more likely
(or 3.34 times as likely) as a woman is to be an abuser. *

Compare the above
two calculations with the National Clearinghouse statistics that "[a]mong
children in single-parent households, those living with only their fathers
were approximately one and two-thirds times more likely to be physically
abused than those living with only their mothers."

Now adjust again
to take into account time and opportunity.

While we cannot say
that if an abuser cares for a child for more time, it's more likely that
abuse will be perpetrated by that abuser, it does seem reasonable to suppose
that it has some effect. The assumed fact, above, is that any given time
90% of children who are in the care of one caregiver are in the care of
a woman, or stated another way, women are performing 90% of child care
once children in the care of couples are eliminated from consideration
(the statistical wash.) If there is a direct correlation, and if men perpetrate
30% of child abuse, then men perpetrate abuse** 30/10** of the time,
and women perpetrate abuse **70/90**. Adjusting the denominators, per
time men are caring for children, we get a whopping **270/90** for men.
That makes men 3.86 times as likely as women to perpetrate abuse given
the same amount of time in caregiving. If we now correct this figure to
adjust for actual numbers of individual caregivers this represents, remembering
that there are, mathematically, 4 women caregivers (above) for every 1
man caregiver, we also properly should adjust the time/opportunity ratios
to account for that.

So per individual,
men abusers are represented by a risk ratio of **1080/90** compared
with women who are **70/90**.

So what we have calculated
thus far is that, IF, according to incident reports, 70% of all child abuse
is committed by women, then adjusting for the different statistical populations
and applying our stated assumptions, *men are* *12 times as likely
as women to perpetrate abuse against children, or put another way, they
are 1100% more dangerous to children than are women.*

However, this calculation
still errs on the side of being too conservative. We haven't corrected
for kind of abuse, or seriousness of outcomes.

In addition, the
raw figures actually don't show that 70% of all incidents of child abuse
are perpetrated by women -- even when including reported "abuse"
such as accomplice abuse, failure to protect, and minor neglect such as
leaving a child unattended where no harm has occurred. They don't show
that.

The statistics you
will see from, e.g. the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect
show that child abuse perpetrated by women represents (depending on report)
between 50-70% of total abuse, usually closer to 50%. And if we remove
from those reports, those minor neglect charges without notable outcomes
and charges such as "failure to protect" that women -- and notably
battered women -- but very few men tend to be charged with, we probably
come down to something closer to 50-50, if it is even that much, if indeed
women are the perpetrators of even 50% of total numbers of real abuse and
neglect. Which means that in reality, men are not "12 times as likely
as women to perpetrate child abuse" but some multiplier significantly
greater even than that. In other words:

**Children are at
astronomically greater risk of physical abuse in the care of a man than
in the care of a woman. **